Improving the Involvement of Digital Volunteers in Disaster Management

  • Roberto dos Santos RochaEmail author
  • Adam Widera
  • Roelof P. van den Berg
  • João Porto de Albuquerque
  • Bernd Helingrath
Conference paper
Part of the IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology book series (IFIPAICT, volume 501)


Volunteered geographic information (VGI) has been seen as useful information in times of disasters. Several authors have shown that VGI is useful for coping with preparedness and response phases of disaster management. However, because it is still a young technology, the use of VGI remains uncertain, due to its lack of strong reliability and validity. It is our assumption that to improve reliability and validity the promotion of citizen engagement (CE) is needed. CE is not new topic, but in the digital humanitarian context, it involves important factors that are not yet considered by disaster managers, such as communication processes, motivation of volunteers, different media for production of information, etc. To fill this gap, we identified a set of preliminary factors which should be considered to promote the involvement of volunteers in disaster management. These factors were derived from critical review of CE literature and from an analysis of lessons learned from an experiment on interaction with citizens carried out in context of the EU-project “DRIVER – Driving Innovation in Crisis Management for European Resilience”.


Citizen engagement Volunteered geographic information Motivation Crowd sensing Disaster management 



The research that led to this work was funded by the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme: Marie Curie Actions/Initial Training Networks under grant agreement n° 317382 and FP7/ 2007-2013 under grant agreement n° 607798. João Porto de Albuquerque is grateful for the financial support from the CAPES Pró-Alertas (grant nº 88887.091744/2014-01 and nº 88887.091743/2014-01). The authors would like to thank Robin Mays and Lívia Degrossi for their helpful comments and suggestions, and the DRIVER “Interaction with Citizens” experiment team that has been working together for several months in order to prepare, conduct and finally assess the field exercise in The Hague.


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Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roberto dos Santos Rocha
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Adam Widera
    • 2
  • Roelof P. van den Berg
    • 2
  • João Porto de Albuquerque
    • 3
    • 1
  • Bernd Helingrath
    • 2
  1. 1.ICMCUniversity of São PauloSão CarlosBrazil
  2. 2.ERCISUniversity of MünsterMünsterGermany
  3. 3.CIMUniversity of WarwickCoventryUK

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